President Obama addresses nation on Flight MH17

Flight MH 17: An ‘Outrage of Unspeakable Proportions’

WASHINGTON, July 18, 2014 — After a day of fundraising and “personal” time, President Obama finally called for immediate action for the Malaysia Airlines tragedy. Obama gave an address in the White House pressroom “Yesterday, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 took off from Amsterdam and was shot down over Ukraine near the Russian border,” the president began. “Nearly 300 innocent lives were taken. Men, women, children, infants – who had nothing to do with the crisis in Ukraine. Their deaths are a outrage of unspeakable proportions.”

After reports of 25 Americans killed, President Obama confirmed at least one American citizen was killed. He shared details of what the U.S. knows about the attack. Evidence indicates that the plane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile that was launched from an area that is controlled by Russian-backed separatists inside of Ukraine,” he said.

“We also know this is not the first time a plane has been shot down in eastern Ukraine. Over the last several weeks, Russian-backed separatists have shot down a Ukrainian transport plane and a Ukrainian helicopter, and they claimed responsibility for shooting down a Ukrainian fighter jet. Moreover, we know that these separatists have received a steady flow of support from Russia. This includes arms and training. It includes heavy weapons and it includes anti-aircraft weapons.”

President Obama has called for an international investigation, however the Russians are not playing ball and refuse a joint investigation. Obama called for a cease-fire in order to begin the investigation. “Evidence must not be tampered with, investigators need to access the crash site and the solemn task of returning those who were lost on board the plane to their loved ones needs to go forward immediately … Our immediate focus will be on recovering those who were lost, investigating exactly what happened and putting forward the facts.”

Obama focused the blame onto Russia and mentioned the Ukrainian crisis and the tragedy as reason why peace must be restored. “Time and again, Russia has refused to take the concrete steps necessary to de-escalate the situation,” the president stated. “I spoke to President Putin yesterday in the wake of additional sanctions that we imposed. He said he wasn’t happy with them, and I told him that we have been very clear from the outset that we want Russia to take the path of peace in Ukraine. However, so far at least, Russia has failed to take that path. Instead, it has continued to violate Ukrainian sovereignty and to support violent separatists.  It has also failed to use its influence to press the separatists to abide by a cease-fire. That’s why, together with our allies, we’ve imposed growing costs on Russia.”

At the conclusion of his speech, President Obama spoke to both Ukraine and Russian on how they have the capacity to put an end to the fighting and bring back peace to the region.

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